From 1980 to 2006 the Cleveland State basketball program tallied just five 20-win seasons, with four of those being posted by Kevin Mackey from 1984-88 (and a Sweet 16 appearance in 1986).
In six seasons at Cleveland State Gary Waters has led the Vikings to 21 wins or more four times, and with that in mind the school has given Waters a new seven-year contract through the 2018-19 season.
Cleveland State has made four postseason appearances (one NCAA, three NIT) during Waters’ tenure, and considering the fact that their last postseason trip came all the way back in 1988 the school thought it important to lock up their head coach.
“Coach Waters is a highly respected leader whose teams excel on and off the basketball court,” said President Ronald M. Berkman on Thursday. “Coach Waters fully expects his students-athletes to give nothing less in the classroom then they give on the basketball court.
“We are grateful that Coach Waters has made the commitment to realize his goal of building a storied basketball program at CSU.”
Cleveland State enters the 2012-13 season having to account for the loss of four starters from last season’s 22-win squad, and the Vikings are expected to start four sophomores alongside senior forward Tim Kamczyc (9.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg).
One of those sophomores is 6-8 forward Anton Grady, who has been pegged as a breakout candidate this season by multiple outlets. And given Waters’ statement following Grady’s ten-point, 13-rebound performance in a win over Green Bay in January, it’s reasonable to expect Grady to lead the way for the Vikings.
“I was going to keep him in the game,” Waters said on that day. “He’s going to be our future.”
While Grady will be the one to lead Cleveland State between the lines, the administration sees a bring future with Waters leading the way.
Picked in the Horizon League preseason poll to finish 5th this season, Cleveland State opens the regular season tonight against Grambling.